Since I haven't done any xc riding in at least a year and a half -- I tried on my xc vest to see if it actually still fit me... it does, barely (as in, I kinda need assistance to get it zipped -- thanks a lot boobs). However, when I was looking through the labels on it something struck me... The tag that says when it was manufactured. It was stamped 2012 (October). Which got me thinking -- do XC vests have an expiration date?
|Fell off this goon, more times than needed, thanks Rodney Powell for keeping me safe|
It seems to be common knowledge that helmets should be replaced... Immediately in the case of a fall or being dropped but after 5 years of USE (according to most manufacturers) -- only a rider knows how they have maintained their gear, and some manufacturers go by the 2000 hours of use rule, so someone who rides for many hours every day may need to replace theirs earlier. I think if you keep your helmet in a trailer or your car, you may need to consider how the materials respond to temperature extremes and take that into account for its lifespan. And as with all tack and gear, periodically checking for damage and decay is a good idea too.
So I took my question to the masses and the response was VERY interesting (and varied):
While my vest is in visually very good condition, based on the manufacturers recommendation it should be replaced (most go by how many years the item was used, not based on the manufacture stamp) -- I believe my vest was purchased in 2013, which still means it should be replaced, even though I haven't worn it in at least a year or longer.
I knew right away I wanted another Beta 3 vest as that's what I had before and I love how safe it felt. I dunno about you guys but I get real nervous watching people go xc in those flimsy Tipperary's. I was really pleased when I discovered that after 5 years they have redesigned the Rodney Powell's to keep up with the growing trend of having a high level of safety, with breathability and flexibility throughout the design. The new one is definitely designed more like the Airoware, and looks to be much more streamlined.
|New and improved|
When I was originally searching for a xc vest I had a hell of a time finding something that fit the front of my body but that didn't come down so far in the back that it impeded me in the saddle. At one point Charles Owen was going to custom make one by piecing together a front from one size and a back from another size. That felt like a whole lot of trouble for the price point. So I researched vests that were designed with shorter back panels which led me to Rodney Powell in the first place. I like the material inside the vest which as your body heats up it conforms even further to the shape of your body, making it feel very custom made.
The only problem with this brand is that they are VERY scarce in the US and the new design is nearly impossible to find anywhere! I was so super excited when I realized they made the new design in grey, that I went on a mad search everywhere for it, to no avail. Sold out or back-ordered everywhere! *I guess that's a good sign!
Thankfully, my brother lives in London and this morning I sent him an email titled "Wanna go on a wild goose chase for me?" and just like that, he sends me a screenshot of an order confirmation!!!! What a guy! He said he found it for wayyyy less expensive than it's even advertised online for possibly due to the VAT upcharges a lot of companies have to apply in their pricing structure.
So it'll be in my hands in a few weeks, well ahead of any xc with Scout (who come home in less than two weeks)-- and I'm eager to give it a more thorough review.
This simple purchase really got me thinking though about how we (riders as a whole) view our gear and our expectations of its longevity and guarantee of safety. I really wish the USEA was more strict about the requirements for xc vests in competitions, (currently, they only have to be ASTM/SEI certified, not Beta 3) and that they held riders competing to a higher standard also.
So what say you bloggers? Do you hold to the standards with your helmets and vests? DO you have opinions either way? I'm so curious!